On the dangers of a mindless deference to authority (rectal earache)

๐Ÿ’Ž On the dangers of a mindless deference to authority (rectal earache)

Errors in the medicine patients receive can occur for a variety of reasons. However, a book entitled Medication Errors: Causes and Prevention by two Temple University pharmacology professors, Michael Cohen and Neil Davis, attributes much of the problem to the mindless deference given the โ€œbossโ€ of the patientโ€™s case: the attending physician. According to Professor Cohen, โ€œin case after case, patients, nurses, pharmacists, and other physicians do not question the prescription.โ€ Take, for example, the strange case of the โ€œrectal earacheโ€ reported by Cohen and Davis. A physician ordered ear drops to be administered to the right ear of a patient suffering pain and infection there. But instead of writing out completely the location โ€œright earโ€ on the prescription, the doctor abbreviated it so that the instructions read โ€œplace in R ear. Upon receiving the prescription. the duty nurse promptly put the required number of ear drops into the patientโ€™s anus.

Excerpt from: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

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